Solon says proposed Metro Davao agency still to hurdle bicam with different House, Senate versions

DAVAO City Rep. Isidro T. Ungab said the creation of the Metropolitan Davao Development Authority (MDDA) will still take time as the approved versions in the two chambers of Congress have differences.

Mr. Ungab said the proposed law will have to go through a bicameral conference committee to reconcile the varying provisions.

The Senate committee on local government, along with several other related committees, jointly approved the measure last week. But the joint panels still have to consolidate the three versions of the bill passed by different senators.

“The said joint committee will first consolidate the mentioned three Senate bills and this House bill,” Mr. Ungab, who sponsored the bill that was approved by the House of Representatives in March, said in a text message.

The Senate joint committee report will first be presented to the plenary.

“I hope Senator Francis Tolentino will present it on the floor when Congress resumes on July,” Mr. Ungab said.

“Medyo mahaba pa ang (It is still quite a long) process,” he added.

One of the main differences in the Senate and House versions is the coverage of the metro Davao area.

Under House Bill 8930, the MDDA will cover 10 towns and cities, namely: Tagum City, Panabo City, Carmen, and Samal in Davao del Norte; Davao City; Digos City and Sta. Cruz in Davao del Sur; Mati City in Davao Oriental; Maco in Davao de Oro; and Malita in Davao Occidental.

At the Senate deliberations, Senator Ronald M. dela Rosa recommended adding the municipalities of Hagonoy, Padada, Malalag, and Sta. Maria, all in his home province of Davao del Sur.

This proposal was approved in principle at the joint committee level. — Maya M. Padillo